19 Best Cocktail Bars In Los Angeles

Whether you want to spend the night kicking back in a dive bar or mingling with celebrities at a trendy poolside lounge, Los Angeles has a wide range of nightlife hotspots scattered throughout the city, and waiting to be explored. However, for those who prioritize tasting expertly crafted cocktails, visiting the trendiest and most expensive bars in the city may actually leave you disappointed, as a lot of the city's best mixologists work in some less visible, but nonetheless high-quality bars.

If you want a sampling of the most delicious cocktails LA has to offer, the following list of establishments is a great place to start your search. These selections are derived from personal experience hopping around the many neighborhoods of LA, as well as the recommendations of some of the best bartenders and cocktail aficionados in the city. The best part is that you can find a great cocktail no matter what neighborhood you like to hang out in, so whether you're on the Westside, downtown, Chinatown, Highland Park, or up in Studio City, at least one of these bars will be just a short Uber ride from your home. 

Death & Co.

Down in the Arts District, Death & Co. is still raking in accolades years after its initial opening in Los Angeles. This prestigious cocktail bar has locations in New York City, Denver, and Washington, D.C. The LA location was ranked #30 in a list of North America's Top 50 Best Bars, and the company in general won the title of Best American Cocktail Bar in 2010.

Customers who are unsure what to order can take their cues from the detailed menu that divides its cocktail offerings into categories like "light and playful", "rich and comforting", and "bright and confident". As with many top watering holes in the city, the interior decor very much calls to mind a Prohibition-era speakeasy, with moody lighting, plenty of mirrors, as well as lamps and candles on the wooden tables and bar counter. Regulars love the gin and mezcal-based Morning Star, as well as the tequila-forward Sunbather.


818 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Apotheke Los Angeles

In Apotheke Los Angeles, both the cocktail list and the interior design have won awards. Named the "Most Stylish Bar" by Time Out Magazine in 2018, Apotheke has a classic, vintage atmosphere modeled off old-school apothecaries, hence the bar's name. The apothecary resemblance doesn't stop at the establishment's decor, as the cocktails themselves are also inspired by these old medicinal shops, with botanical notes informing most of the pharmacy-themed menu. Drinks are classified as pain killers, stress relievers, and euphorics. 

Fresh cocktail ingredients are handmade daily on the premises. Though you can't go wrong with almost any drink here, try The Hummingbird, with bourbon and rums used as a base. Apotheke has two other locations in New York City's Chinatown and NoMad Hotel


(323) 844-0717

1746 N. Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Melrose Umbrella Co.

Unlike a lot of the see-and-be-seen spots that populate this part of town, this fun cocktail spot is a breath of fresh air, hosting couples and groups of friends casually getting together to enjoy some delicious bites and a fun happy hour. Try one of the several varieties of Old Fashioned cocktails available, or go for a classic like Mezcali Mi Banana or Romance Without Pressure.

The atmosphere is welcoming, with warm lighting, wooden furniture, and a slight vintage feel. Perhaps this is because the bar is housed in a building constructed right after the demise of Prohibition, making it a relatively old establishment for the city of Los Angeles. The interior space isn't too big, so be prepared for a wait if you stop by Melrose Umbrella Co. on a weekend night. 


(323) 951-0709

7465 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

The Varnish

Before the hidden-entrance speakeasy craze took hold of Los Angeles, there was The Varnish. You can only access this low-lit moody cocktail spot in downtown LA by entering through Cole's French Dip, known for (what else) its French dip sandwiches. After you walk through a back door into The Varnish, you will find a vintage cash register on the sturdy bar, several cozy tables and booths, and an elegant piano in the center of it all. From Sunday to Wednesday, live music is played here.

Unlike other nightlife locations in the city that seem desperate to jump on the latest fad, The Varnish remains unchanged, focusing on creating an intimate atmosphere and incredible cocktails. If you want to take a risk and go off-menu, ask for the Bartender's Choice. With this option, you tell the mixologist behind the bar what base liquor you'd like, and any other taste preferences you may have, and then let the bartender work some magic.


(213) 265-7089

118 E. 6th St., Los Angeles, CA 90014

The Roger Room

The menu at The Roger Room groups cocktails by their base spirit. People seem to love the tequila-based drinks here, especially Tijuana Brass; other popular selections include the gin-forward Old Sport and Japanese Maple whiskey-based cocktail.

The freak show pictures that adorn the walls of the bar are just one of the many details that give this establishment its quirky, alternative, fun vibe. Though you may not think it, given the small space and laidback atmosphere of The Roger Room, the bartenders here are some of the most knowledgeable cocktail makers in LA. You will usually find a pretty fun crowd, as many customers stop by after leaving comedy shows at Largo at the Coronet next door.


(310) 854-1300

370 N. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Dante Beverly Hills

A lot of Angelenos still don't know that one of New York City's most famous (and highly-rated) cocktail spots has opened up a location in Beverly Hills, right on the rooftop of The Maybourne Hotel. Dante's has been a popular Greenwich Village gathering spot since its establishment in 1915, founded by Italian immigrants who hoped to bring a sense of their home country to their neighborhood. In 2023, this legendary hotspot finally opened up a West Coast location. Head on up for creative drinks served alongside delicious Mediterranean cuisine, all in an elegant and upscale atmosphere with a panoramic view of the surrounding area. 

For something a little spicy, check out the Fluffy Margarita Royale, made with Olmeca Altos, fluffy pineapple, lime, scorched green chili, Prosecco, and Hawaiian lava salt. If you want something a little lighter and more refreshing for a warm California evening or sunny brunch, try Dante's Hugo Spritz with St. Germain, cucumber, lime, mint, Prosecco, and Perrier.


(310) 860-7989

225 N. Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Bar Flores

If you're looking for a classic Southern California cocktail night, swing by Bar Flores for Margarita Wednesdays. Otherwise, try one of the many other expertly-made cocktails, many inspired by Mexican flavors. One example is the Flores Michelada, made with Sol beer and the Flores' family secret michelada mix. Mezcal lovers will especially love this bar, as the menu always highlights the knowledgeable staff's mezcal recommendations.

Bar Flores is the current location of popular former LA pop-up Sip, which eventually decided to make Echo Park its permanent home. Aptly reflecting the chill vibe of the surrounding hipster neighborhood, Bar Flores has a casual, plant-filled outdoor patio space reminiscent of a private backyard, in addition to its second-floor indoor area overlooking Sunset Boulevard. 


(213) 266-8006

1542 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026


In an inconspicuous part of town on the border of Echo Park and Historic Filipinotown lies Thunderbolt, an absolute dream bar for cocktail aficionados who have trouble deciding what they want. That's because the expert bar staff is happy to walk you through the different flavors and notes of each option on the menu, as well as make excellent recommendations based on your usual drinks of choice.

You will find a lot of great bites on the menu inspired by Southern cuisine. The Southern influence doesn't end there, as the bar exudes an atmosphere of friendliness and hospitality. Thunderbolt prides itself on building a loyal customer base of regulars, proving cocktail-focused bars can also be great neighborhood hangs. If you want a great drink without a lot of unnecessary frills, Thunderbolt is the spot for you.


(213) 372-5099

1263 W. Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Nativo Highland Park

Nativo isn't just a name; it's a reflection of the deep roots this bar has in the local community. Founded by Gabriel Paredes, a Mexican-American born-and-raised Angeleno, Nativo fuses LA cocktail techniques and fusion cooking with the traditional ingredients and flavors of Guadalajara, Paredes' family home. Nestled in the cool, alternative neighborhood of Highland Park, Nativo serves amazing Mexican cuisine — a fair amount of it made with recipes derived from Paredes' mother — as well as south-of-the-border inspired cocktails. 

Try the Mambo Lupita with Rosaluna Mezcal, bianco vermouth, achiote spiced hibiscus, lime, agave, and fizz, or an Oaxacan Milk Punch, made with Cañada Oaxacan Rum, pineapple, curacao, xtabentún, coriander, cinnamon, lemon, and clarified milk. Know that on Sundays, the restaurant adds a 20% gratuity to everything you order as a thank you to their staff.


(323) 561-3050

5137 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042

Las Perlas

In the heart of West Hollywood is one of the best cocktail bar destinations for mezcal lovers: Las Perlas. The bar has a literal wall of mezcal bottles originating from all over Mexico, from Oaxaca to Durango, giving you a whole lot of variety to choose from when it comes to the oldest liquor ever distilled in North America. 

You can ask the bartender to make a mezcal version of pretty much every drink here, including Palomas, margaritas, and Mexican Old Fashioned cocktails. One of the most unique items on the menu is the Cafecito, made with mezcal, cold brew, and coffee liqueur. Las Perlas also hosts a pretty long happy hour every single day, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., so if you get off work late, this is the place to be.


(323) 822-5065

7511 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046

Tiki No

Tiki No proves that even the campiest places in the city can make amazing cocktails. Sit down amid the wooden tiki decor and island-style accents to try some of the rum-based and tropical-flavored drinks on the menu. In addition to classics like tasty Piña Colada and Blue Hawaiian drinks, you can order specially mixed concoctions like Chief Lapu Lapu, made with rum, fruit juice, and organic passion fruit syrup.

One of the best parts of Tiki No is the festive atmosphere. The bar hosts Happy Hour seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and also hosts karaoke nights on Wednesdays and Sundays. Grab your friends and head to this party spot to relax, kick back, and not take yourself too seriously while indulging in some of the best tiki drinks in LA.


(818) 766-0116

4657 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91602

The Normandie Club

The Normandie Hotel's swanky cocktail lounge, appropriately titled The Normandie Club, offers an array of absolutely phenomenal martinis among the other drinks on its menu. In addition, you can order the bar's unique takes on otherwise classic drinks like an Old Fashioned or daiquiri; this part of the menu is actually titled "it's sorta like a..." in order to help the customer understand what well-known cocktail each drink resembles in terms of taste.

Though the bar only opened in 2015, one of the best parts of a night here is the opportunity to marvel at The Normandie Hotel, one of LA's oldest and most beautiful buildings. Established in 1926, the hotel is now a historic landmark of Los Angeles, but the ambiance is quite cool and comfortable without a trace of stuffiness.


(213) 263-2709

3612 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020

Black Market Liquor Bar

Black Market Liquor Bar is a laidback, tavern-like, local neighborhood spot in Studio City that despite its low profile, serves some delicious drinks. The small plates are nothing to scoff at either, with the shishito peppers, lamb skewers, and deviled quail eggs being customer favorites.

For those so inclined, there are also a range of delicious craft beers to choose from, many of which no one but the most dedicated beer aficionado will likely have heard of; but it's the cocktail list that truly shines. Bourbon fans should pick the Fade to Black cocktail, while those with a taste for mezcal will love the refreshing Naked & Famous mix. If you want to splurge, you can also order off the "Really Fancy Drinks" menu. These selections include upscale liquor like Glenfiddich Sherry Cask and Teeling Wonders Of Wood whiskeys.


(818) 446-2533

11915 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

General Lee's

General Lee's in Chinatown may seem like a relatively recent arrival to the LA scene since it opened in 2013, but it actually pays homage to LA's original, and much older General Lee's bar, established all the way back in 1860. Though originally built in the Union Station area, the bar was transferred over to its current Chinatown location after the city's original Chinatown was pretty much razed to build the train station, and eventually became a celebrity hotspot of the early 20th century.

Today, the menu focuses on crafting great cocktails, many with Asian-inspired flavors. One of our favorites is The Immortal Elixir, which contains gin, rhubarb, pineapple, lemon, Prosecco and rosemary. Upon entering the bar, you can sit in three separate sections, depending on your mood: the busier downstairs area with a DJ playing music, the dimly lit upstairs lounge, or a cozy nook with a handful of tables. 


(213) 625-7500

475 Gin Ling Way, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Bar Henry

Angelenos looking for a generally low-key bar where you can converse with a friend without too much noise and crowds, or go on a romantic date, need look no further than Bar Henry. This classy yet intimate spot in Echo Park serves over thirty different unique cocktails on the menu, some of them non-alcoholic for those taking a night off from drinking. If you can't decide what to order, pull up a stool at the wooden, candlelit bar and ask one of the knowledgeable bartenders for a recommendation. 

One of the only problems here is that the space is relatively small, meaning sometimes you may not be able to find seating. However, despite the quality of the drinks here, this bar doesn't generally get too packed, so first come, first serve works just fine here most days.


(213) 988-7208

1228 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Spirit House Echo Park

If you only order one thing off the Spirit House Echo Park menu, make it the Trade Winds Old Fashioned, with coconut rum, apricot, demerara syrup, angostura bitters, and a lime peel garnish. You will find this quirky Echo Park establishment in the back of the Thai casual restaurant Sticky Rice. Walk through the red curtain to discover a neon-lit small bar with some incredibly knowledgeable mixologists behind the counter and a smattering of tables nearby.

The venue may seem low-key at first, but if you come in on a weekend, there are occasionally live music nights, and you may find that this small cocktail bar has suddenly become standing-room only. Drop by to hear up-and-coming talented local bands while enjoying some delicious, tropical-inspired cocktails.


(323) 284-8744

1801 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Accomplice Bar

Mar Vista's Accomplice Bar became such a popular neighborhood haunt that a few years ago, it acquired the property next door and expanded its space. Not to worry, as the bar still retains its intimate, cozy, vibrant ambiance, even within a relatively larger space. 

The bar is adjacent to and part of, the popular Taiwanese restaurant Little Fatty, so you can combine some great East Asian bites with creative cocktails. One of the best drinks on the menu with a fair amount of Asian flavor inspiration is Mornings At Sapp. This drink has Thai spiced rye, lemongrass shochu, apple brandy, cynar, yellow curry, and Thai tea. If you drop by during Happy Hour, between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. every day, sip on a Japanese highball and get the egg rolls for good measure.


(310) 574 7610

3811 Grand View Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

Gold Line

The bartenders at the Gold Line tend to focus on classic cocktails with just a few ingredients, rather than fussy and elaborate drinks. Locals who like the hipster vibe of Highland Park will absolutely love the space here, thanks in part to the prominent record collection lining the bar's walls. The over 8,000 vinyl records on display aren't just for show; DJs who show up on select weekends pull tunes from the shelves to play for the crowd.

This establishment is a retro throwback to LA in the 70s, with a jukebox featured prominently near the solid, dark-hued bar. However, there is nothing kitschy about the decor here, as you will find warm candlelight atop wooden counters lining an exposed brick wall. Guests who show up with a large group may prefer to sit in the back, where large, comfortable sofas and an open standing (or dancing) space enable mingling.


(323) 274-4496

5607 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90042

Big Bar

One of Los Angeles' busiest brunch spots, The Alcove Cave & Bakery, has a highly-rated cocktail bar adjacent to it called Big Bar. For people who want a nightlife experience that focuses almost purely on well-made cocktails and ends early enough to provide a decent bedtime, Big Bar is probably the place for you.

Walk down Hillhurst Avenue and drop by this spot to experience some of the most meticulously crafted cocktails in town – with whimsical names to boot. Opt for something off the Mixtape Menu, created by Big Bar's resident bartenders, like Tonight, Tonight, made with sloe gin, Diplomatico rum, winter spices, lemon, and spiced foam. The bar closes at 10 p.m. from Sundays through Thursdays and by 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.


(323) 644-0100

1927 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027